Friday, 21 August 2015

Mini review: Mind Games by Teri Terry

GoodReads: Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late?

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit. But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer.

The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing...
Thoughts:

Having enjoyed Teri Terry's Slated trilogy I was looking forward to reading Mind Games. However, I'm sorry to say that I was sourly disappointed.

In my opinion world building is important in dystopian books. I kind of felt a bit disorientated when reading Mind Games, because although there was the occasional explanation I didn't feel like there was enough. I would have liked to know how the world got to where it was, etc.

Having said that, however, I can sometimes let poor world building slide if the plot intrigues me (e.g. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen). This wasn't the case for Mind Games, though. There were just too many plot holes for me to interested in what was going on. Another reason I couldn't really get into the story is  because I couldn't connect with the main or even secondary characters for that matter. They were a bit dull to be honest, and the romance didn't work for me at all. It was kind of insta-lovey, with the mc falling for the love interest within days of meeting him.

I wasn't a big fan of the ending, either. I don't know, maybe it was my own fault for picking up a book I probably wouldn't have read had I not enjoyed the authors previous books.

Rating:

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity

I think it's so important that we have diverse books, and have been meaning to write a post on it for a while. Since this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is about diversity I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do just that!

The following books feature:
  • Ethnically diverse characters 
  • LGBT characters
  • PoC main character
1. Partials by Dan Wells


2. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot


3. Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas


4. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling  


5. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon


6. Eon by Alison Goodman 


7. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff


8. Butterfly Sword by Jeannie Lin


9. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon


10. Secrets & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne

GoodReads: After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.

Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge's Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

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Expected publication date: 04/08/15

Daughter of Dusk picks up where Midnight Thief left off. This book is focused around the rising tensions between Forge's Council and the Demon Riders, as opposed to the previous book which was centered around the Guild vs. Council. Kyra struggles with who she is and who she thinks she'll become if she gives into her Makvani blood line. It also explores the line between good and bad, and how sometimes it's not easy to distinguish between the two.

I was disappointed with the role James played in this book, to me he didn't have enough page time. It kind of felt like he was there for the purpose of Kyra's character development. I really enjoyed the Guild arc in the first book, so I guess I felt let down that there wasn't much exploration into it in Daughter of Dusk.

The romance with Tristam was sweet but not particularly moving. It didn't really make me feel anything, it was just there. I did, however, enjoy the relationship between Flick and Kyra - I've said it many times before and I'll say it again, I love seeing platonic relationships between male and female characters. There needs to be more of them I say. 

In my opinion this would have worked better as a trilogy, because it wouldn't have felt as rushed and the Guild arc of the story could have been explored more. Overall though, despite a few issues here and there it was a satisfying end to the story.

Rating:

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Mini review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

GoodReads: In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort....

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?


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Expected publication date: 13/10/15 

The Immortal Heights picks up where The Perilous Sea left off, and follows Iolanthe's and Titus's journey to take down the Bane.

I have to admit that I was kind of bored with the romance. I mean it was nice, but nice is all I can say about it. For me, it just didn't have the same level of swoons as it did in the previous books. No, it was the action that had me flying through the pages of The Immortal Heights. It's action packed right from the start, and at the end of each chapter there's a kind of cliffhanger that begs you to read on... the phrase 'just one more chapter' comes to mind. 

I loved Iolanthe's selflessness and her determination to protect the ones she cares for. Despite not loving the romance in this one I still appreciated her relationship with Titus, it's great seeing a couple who are so open with one another. Titus doesn't hide his fear from her and also knows when to step back and let her take charge. Her relationship with  Master Haywood was also really sweet, I want to see more father/daughter type relationships like this one.

All in all, it was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Book one, however, remains my favourite!

Rating:  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Poppy in the Field by Mary Hooper

GoodReads: When Poppy learns that the love of her life, Freddie de Vere, is to marry someone else, she knows her heart will break. Devastated, she volunteers her nursing skills overseas to take her away from the painful reminders at home. But things are about to get much worse for Poppy. The journey to the hospital in Flanders is full of horrors, and when she arrives it is to find a spiteful ward Sister and unfriendly nurses. Despite her loneliness and homesickness, the dangers of frontline warfare soon make her forget her own troubles and Poppy finds that comfort for a broken heart can be found in the most unexpected places.

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Expected publication date: 07/05/15

2015 so far has not been a very good year of reading for me. I just haven't been all that excited about any of the upcoming releases. May, however, is a month in which two of my most anticipated books are due out - Susan Ee's End of Days being one and Poppy in the Field being the other. So, needless to say that when I got this before the expected publication date I was very happy!

It's obvious a lot of research has gone into this book as Hooper paints a vivid picture of what it was like for  VADs on the front line. I've read a few books based on WW1 before, but never from the POV of a VAD so it was definitely an interesting experience. It made me appreciate just how hard these women worked. Poppy herself is an admirable mc, I loved her dedication to what she was doing and how keen she was to do her part for the war.

Having transferred to a hospital in France Poppy is now on the front line, so the casualties brought in are much worse than those brought in England. It was horrible reading about the types of injuries men suffered during the war and the amount of death was shocking. It's not all death and gloom, though, there are some lighter moments as Poppy makes friends and is reacquainted with some familiar faces.

I loved the wit and charm of the love interest, and also his honesty. The romance was really sweet and subtle, every time the he would appear I'd find myself smiling, because it felt so genuine. 

Overall, this was a great conclusion to Poppy's story, and it is my first four star read of the year!

Rating:

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mini review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

GoodReads: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?


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Expected publication date: 21/04/15

Thoughts:

Despite not loving it as much as book one, I thought Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke was an enjoyable conclusion to Daniel and Gretchen's story. Unlike in the previous book Hitler is not actually present for the majority of the story. However, you can still feel his dark presence throughout as Gretchen and Daniel attempt to stay under the radar. In CoBaS Gretchen and Daniel's relationship is constantly being tested, but they remain a strong and supportive couple - I love that there was no drama in relation to how they felt about each other. Although the story started out slow things soon started to speed up as they returned to the place they fled and the stakes increase. Once again it's obvious that Blankman has done her research and I like the twists she added to make the story her own.

Overall, this is a great duology for YA historical fiction fans!

Rating:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

GoodReads: Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous.


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Expected publication date: 24/02/15

I love The Study trilogy, so when I heard that there was going to be three more books coming out I was really excited. However, if I'm being honest despite loving Valek, Yelena & the gang I was also a little worried, because sometimes completed series' are best left alone, in my opinion. The reason I say this is because in the past I've had experiences where I've enjoyed a completed series only to find there are going to be more books, and then when said books end up being disappointing it ruins my enjoyment of the whole series.

I'm happy to report, however, that that wasn't the case here! The plot was fast-paced and action packed as usual, and it was great seeing both old and new characters emerge throughout the story. Prior to reading this I decided to re-read the Study trilogy, which I'm glad I did as it helped refresh my mind on the characters and world. There are several references to the events and characters from the Glass trilogy, so if you have read that trilogy it will help you understand said references. However, as someone who hasn't read it I didn't feel lost. I still understood what was happening, so, I don't think you necessarily have to have read it to get the gist of what is going on.

Shadow Study alternates between Yelena's and Valek's POV. It was interesting learning about Valek's past and getting his thoughts on some of the events of the previous books. It made my love for him grow if that's possible.

In Shadow Study Yelena is under attacked by unknown enemies and to make matters worse her magic has been blocked. Valek is also busy trying to undercover the culprits behind some black market trading. The book opens with them together, but shorty after the action kicks off they go their separate ways. Which leads me to my next point...In Poison Study Yelena and Valek are together for the majority of the book, but in the books that follow they are separated for most of it. As much as I love how strong they are independently I would love to see them working together in future books, as opposed to being apart for most of it and only joining together towards the end.

Rating: 

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